Vancouver Considers Bylaw on Paper Cups

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Vancouver may be one step closer to a bylaw to prevent paper cups from piling up in landfills.

A Vision Vancouver councillor is trying to solve the issue, whether it be with a tax on paper cups, or with a bylaw to have recycling bins prominently inside coffee shops. Toronto is considering a tax, starting December 1st, on disposable cups to encourage customers to bring their own mugs. While Vancouver has no green tax in the works, people are pushing for a Green change.

Starbucks alone uses more than 1.5 billion cups per year, and the plastic lining of the cups prevents them from being recyclable (in most cases). And while 10% of the cups are made from recycled material (saving 5 million pounds of tree fiber), well, that’s just not really good enough.

Personally, there are a lot of little changes I’d like to see Vancouver coffee shops adopt - changes that have a big impact overall:

  • Have paper cups that can be recycled
  • Have a sugar dispenser, instead of sugar packets
  • Have spoons, instead of wooden stir sticks (although many are compostable, they are still wasteful)
  • Offer a discount for your own travel mug (most do)
  • Teach recycling - have a sign that lists what materials can be recycled near your bin (Tim Horton’s recently started this as a pilot project)
  • Choosing biodegradable coffee cup lids

In addition, for those companies who want to go the extra mile to becoming more environmentally friendly, these options can help:

  • Recycling used coffee grinds, or offering them free to customers for gardening
  • Use biodegradable products for take-out packaging
  • Going green in other ways - in materials bought, lighting used, etc

If you are taking steps in your cafe to be green, let your customers know. Giving them the option is just one more reason to shop with you, and educating them goes a long way toward creating positive recycling habits.

If you own a cafe in Vancouver, or work at one, and have been taking steps to go Green, I’d love to hear about it. Drop me a line or leave a comment here.

Starbucks testing $1 coffee and free refills

Related entries in Interesting News, Starbucks

Starbucks is testing out a new $1 coffee and free refill price program. The test is being conducted in Seattle stores.

The $1 cup would see the return of the "short" cup size, about fifty cents off the tall price for drip coffee. Free refills will be extended for brewed coffee, though the sizes applicable were not specified. This would put the Starbucks brew back on teh same pricepoint as competitors.

The move to this new price point has been prompted by slower consumer spending and new competition from fast-food rivals, such as McDonald’s, whose coffee offerings have expanded.

Starbucks says that "This test is not indicative of any new business strategy." They claim the testing is a part of their ongoing business and will not comment on the test until a decision has been made.

Via reuters ; Tags: , , , , , ,


Related entries in Coffee news, Starbucks

Ok, anyone else do a double take recently in Starbucks? What is it with coffee shops adopting the McBreakfast? First, it was Tim Hortons, and now Starbucks has jumped onto the bandwagon.

This does not appear to be a new thing in the US - first being test marketed around Chicago, and now in many cafes across the US. Yesterday was my first sight of them in Vancouver.

These "Breakfast Sandwiches" come in a variety of options, which were taste tested by the Chicago Sun Times (via Slashfood):

  • Eggs Florentine with Baby Spinach and Havarti - "a favorite"
  • Sausage, Egg and Cheddar - "crisp but bland"
  • Black Forest Ham, Eggs and Cheddar - "smoky ham is good"
  • Peppered Bacon, Egg and Cheddar - "good bacon but bland"
  • Low Fat Turkey Bacon, Cholesterol-free Egg and Reduced Fat Cheddar - tasters did not like this

I can’t find any news releases or coverage about when and where these new sandwiches appear in Canada.

McDonald’s has been encroaching on the Starbucks market for some time now, promoting their "Premium Coffee", and getting more of the breakfast crowd. Likely the equal response from Starbucks is to offer a Mc-like Breakfast. The testing across the US must have been successful enough to continue the expansion of this offering.

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Starbucks vs. Tim Hortons on Parliament Hill

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Tories are up in arms because the House of Commons has chosen Starbucks as the “premium” coffee served in the West Block cafeteria. Other brands that were considered were Tim Hortons, Second Cup and Timothy’s, but they all required purchasing a franchise.

Multatuli Coffee, an Ontario coffee roaster that supplies coffee to all of Parliament’s cafeterias, is also not happy that Starbucks is considered a step above them.

Read the whole story, with some amusing quotes from MPs, here.

Starbucks 20th Anniversary in Vancouver

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Starbucks today celebrated its 20th anniversary in Vancouver. The first Starbucks in Canada was opened right here in Vancouver at the Sea Bus station on Cordova Street on March 1, 1987.


To celebrate the anniversary, Starbucks held "Coffee Fest 2007." Sadly, it was rather underpromoted. It was on the radio and you had to dig for it on the web. It is not on the Starbucks Canada website.

 Coffee Fest 2007
Mar 1, 2007, 11am to 1pm
Location: Shearaton Wall Centre-Street Level, 1088 Burrard St.
Starbucks is celebrating two decades of coffee passion in Vancouver and you’re invited. Join Starbucks for a one-of-a-kind coffee experience. It’s your chance to taste some extraordinary coffees and toast the SeaBus store, Canada’s very first Starbucks. Coffee Masters will be on hand to share tips on brewing at home and discuss how beans from around the world differ. It’s our way of saying thanks for 20 great years.

Whether we like it or hate it, Starbucks is a big part of the coffee culture in Vancouver. I went today and took some pictures, tasted a few coffees and got myself a $5 Starbucks card.

Go here to see the full picture set

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Starbucks reduces trans fats

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Starbucks baked goods are just as bad as any fast food burger. After many years, they’ve decided to clean it up. Well, not so much decided, as rather caved into pressure to do so. But, who’s mincing words…

However, getting all Starbucks trans-fat free will take time. Each region has its own local bakery and food supply chain, and all must be adjusted.

To review the nutritional content of your local Starbucks, you must enter your ZIP on the website. Nutritional values vary for the same reason as above - different suppliers. From those I’ve tested, none appear to have trans fat left on the menu.

However, the fat content itself is still astronomically high. Also interesting to note that the no sugar products have pretty much the most fat. 27g of fat for the no sugar banana nut coffee cake. That’s 8 extra grams of fat over a blueberry scone, if you can believe it.

From ; Tags: , , ,

Starbucks expansion ambitions

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Starbucks has set some lofty goals for expanding in 2007. According to Reuters,

Starbucks will open 2,400 stores in its 2007 fiscal year and will have 20,000 stores worldwide within seven years, a senior executive said on Monday.

Colman Cuff, Starbucks’ director of trading and operations, said the new stores would be spread among the United States and worldwide markets, with Asian growth driven by China.

"In fiscal year 2006 we opened more stores than were forecast, and we will better that in fiscal year 2007," Cuff said at the Sintercafe coffee industry conference in Costa Rica. The 2006 fiscal year ended on Oct. 1.

Starbucks has more than 12,000 stores, including 8,800 in the United States.

Too bad Starbucks employees are dissatisfied with their working conditions:

This November 24th-25th, stand in solidarity with Starbucks workers as we call for an end to the anti-union campaign waged by Starbucks and for the reinstatement of all unlawfully fired workers. In addition we are calling on Starbucks to give Ethiopia control over its coffee. [More from Starbucks Union]

Via badgett ; Tags: , , ,

Free Starbucks coffee

Related entries in Coffee news, Starbucks

Update: Starbucks has decided giving free coffee to everyone is a bad idea. The coupon will no longer be honored. The press release is here.

Greg emailed us to let us know about a Starbucks coupon you can print to get a free iced coffee every day until September 30. We were skeptical at first so I did some research and it turns out that this is actually real. Apparently this was supposed to be a regional offer but the coupons leaked so much that they will now honour them in all of North America. has more details.

So if you like Starbucks coffee just print this coupon and enjoy!

Starbucks Nutritional drama

Related entries in Coffee Education, Starbucks

Is Starbucks the next McDonald’s… in more ways than one?

Not only is the coffee chain experiencing the same explosion of growth the burger giant saw, but perhaps we can also lay to it the same unhealthy nutritional standards as our greasy food giant:

"Regular consumers of Starbucks products could face Venti-sized health problems. If Starbucks cared about its customers’ health, it would at least list on the menu board the calorie content of its offerings."

Several of Starbucks’ popular beverages are loaded with calories, fat, and sugar. The popular GrandeLatte weighs in at 260 calories with almost half the calories coming from fat. The big-selling Grande White Mocha packs in 510 calories and 24 grams of fat. The summer line continues the trend with the award for least-healthy drink going to the heavily advertised Venti Banana Coconut Frappuccino. The massive drink weighs in at 730 calories compared to 560 calories for a Big Mac from McDonald’s.

More from the Starbucks Union

Starbucks Fair Trade Challenge

Related entries in Coffee Opinion, Coffee around the world, Coffee news, Starbucks

October is Fair Trade Month 2005, according to Transfair USA.

The goal of Fair Trade Month is to expand the Fair Trade movement in the U.S. overall, with different organizations promoting their own areas of involvement, and we encourage you to Fair Trade in every way possible! TransFair’s focus will be on the promotion of Fair Trade Certified products, and, following last year’s great success involving hundreds of events that garnered widespread national media coverage, we are once again collaborating with businesses, consumers, and non-profit organizations to raise consumer awareness and increase sales of Fair Trade Certified products.

According to Transfair USA, Starbucks is Fair Trade - you can read Starbucks’ take on its own policy (PDF). Apparently, if you ask, they’ll make you a fair trade coffee in any of its locations in any of 23 licensed countries.

Well, “GreenLAGirl” wants to test this policy with a Starbucks Fair Trade Challenge - will your local Starbucks step up to the plate and make Fair Trade coffee for anyone who walks in the door, no matter the time of day?

Join the challenge:

1) Simply visit your local Starbucks and ask: “Could I get a cup of fair trade coffee?”

2) Tell us what happened next. Was it hard or easy to get a cup? You can see our first posts here.

Simply tag your post with “starbuckschallenge” to report your findings. There’s even a prize.

So far - some have lucked out and some have not. The results are apparently being followed by Starbucks - and they are apparently in contact with the blogger who has started this challenge alerting to press releases and information, and to customer service reminders they are sending to their stores.

So, see what you can find - and let people know. Coffee can taste more bitter when served badly, regardless of its perfection (obviously, not anywhere near that for Starbucks brew…)

Via Cafe Metaphoric

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